Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brighter surroundings emerge from Stranahan Hall refurbishment project

Stranahan Hall (South), the 25-year-old home of the UT College of Business and Innovation, was brightly transformed by the start of the fall semester with its first ever bottom to top refurbishment.

Chipped paint and traffic-worn carpets yielded to the arrival of gallons of fresh ivory-colored latex paint and contemporary high-traffic-strength floor coverings. From the first to the fifth floors, no room was left untouched.

“Stranahan Hall was ready for this refurbishment project, as it still had the painting and original carpeting from when the building opened more than 25 years ago,” noted Sandy Whitman, Administrative Assistant to the COBI Dean’s office. “With 3,000 students using this building every semester, it was time to address the basics: namely fresh paint, new carpeting and window treatments in each room and hallway, and new lighting in the hallways.”

Refurbishment of the first floor lobby and the fifth floor offices took place during the break between the last fall and spring semesters, while the painting and carpeting of floors two, three and four occurred during the summer to minimize the impact on faculty and students. Classrooms in the ground floor of Stranahan Hall South received fresh paint a couple years ago, so they did not need to be painted this year.

“Making this happen truly required a team effort,” Whitman said. “Every office and conference room in Stranahan Hall South had to be emptied for a few days, so we went through a lot of cardboard boxes and cleaning of files.”

“It’s important to emphasize that the money for this project did not come out of student fees, but from private donations” Whitman said. When donors - - including COBI alumni, faculty and staff - - contributed during the fundraising campaign to build the new Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement, they also contributed $1 million specifically for these physical improvements to Stranahan Hall South.

With just a few exceptions - - such as the new Ph.D. Seminar Room (the previous Neff Trading Room), and classrooms 3056 and 4050 that welcomed new tables and chairs - - the existing furniture from each office found its way back home.
The first floor student lounge went through a little greater transformation as it became a POD, or Provisions on Demand location. It’s a place where all students, faculty and staff can obtain a sandwich, salad, hot slice of pizza or snack.

“Aramark (UT’s food service provider) was looking for a location to provide this service in this area of campus,” Whitman said. “We thought it was an appropriate use of the space and a great idea that would benefit everyone on this side of campus.”

“We encourage the UT community to come see the fresh look to our COBI home, stop by the new POD for something to eat, and, of course, take some business classes in the newly refurbished Stranahan Hall South,” said COBI Dean Thomas Gutteridge.

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